Category Archives: Food.

wasabi asian dip

Forgive me for the lack of a picture.  I first ate this last New years at my sister-in-laws house…and literally could have kept eating and eating.  So then, last month, I made it and everyone thought it was just as big of a hit as I once did.  Therefore, I am passing on this simple show stopper of an appetizer- and just an fyi- I am not a big wasabi fan…but this IS DELICOUS.

Ingredients: 1 block of cream cheese, soy sauce, wasabi paste, sesame seeds, rice crackers

Directions:  Cut block of cream cheese lengthwise in half.

any brand from a tube is fine

Smear full tube of wasabi paste onto the bottom half of the cheese block.

Place the top cream cheese half back on- sandwhiching the wasabi.

Pour generous amounts of soy sauce over entire block of cheese.

Sprinkle lots of sesame seeds on top.

Serve with rice crackers.  Some people use a knife to slice a bit and then smear it onto a cracker; but I like to just use the cracker as the “dipper”.


a cookie

Aren’t these cute?  Mine would never turn out like this… crazy.

sock monkey cookies

for the love of samoa

Confession: I have actually only bought one box of girl scout cookies this year.  I am not sure why this is a confession, since that should be considered very good.  Usually I do not have much restraint when I pass by the sweet girls out in front of every grocery store this time of year.

So, in honor of jumping into all things DIY (mom, this means do it yourself), I was browsing my fav food blog foodgawker again and perhaps because it’s the right time of year; I found trillions of samoa recipes- or should I refer to them by their new name “Caramel DeLite”.  Here are a few in honor of my favorite girl scout flavor:

Faux Samoa Cookies

  • For Cookies:
    • 1 c. butter, softened
    • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
    • 2 c. all-purpose flour
    • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 tbs. milk
  • For Topping:
    • 3 c. shredded coconut (sweetened)
    • 12 oz. chewy caramels (Werther’s Original Chewy)
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 3 tbs. milk
    • 8 oz. dark chocolate (Ghirardelli 60% Cacao chips)
  1. Preheat oven to 350F.  In a large mixing bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Mix in the remaining dry ingredients at a low speed until combined, and then add the wet ingredients.  Use up to 2 tbs. of milk until the dough comes together without being sticky.  If the dough gets sticky, add a little bit of extra flour.
  2. Taking a small batch, roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thick and cut out 1-1/2 inch rounds with a cookie cutter or knife.  Cut a smaller hole out of the center of each round.  Repeat with remaining dough, reusing all of the excess dough as a result of cutting.
  3. Bake cookies on a parchment lined baking sheet for 10-15 minutes until lightly browned on the bottom and completely set.  Remove from baking sheet and cool completely before adding the toppings.

Caramel/Coconut Topping and Chocolate Swirls

  1. Preheat oven to 300F.  Spread coconut evenly across parchment lined baking sheet and toast for about 20 minutes until golden and fragrant.  Stir every 5 minutes or so to toast evenly and keep the coconut from burning.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.
  2. Remove caramels from wrappers (find some helpers) and place in microwave safe bowl with milk and salt.  Cook on high for 3 to 4 minutes, stopping a few times to stir and help the caramel melt.  When caramel mixture is smooth, fold in toasted coconut.
  3. Spread the caramel topping on the cooled cookies.  If caramel begins to solidify, microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to work with.  Each cookie will need about 2 to 3 tablespoons of caramel.  Use as much as you want, but try to maintain the hole in the center of the cookie for aesthetics.
  4. Melt the dark chocolate while the caramel is setting up.  Dip the base of each cookie into the chocolate and set each piece on a clean sheet of parchment paper.  Aluminum foil or any other smooth surface will work too, but the cookies will need to cool completely to remove.  Pipe the remaining chocolate in a zig-zag pattern over the top of the cookies.  Let the chocolate set completely before storing.







Samoa Bars




For the crust:  1/2 cup sugar   3/4 cup butter, softened

1 large egg   1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



2 cups all purpose flour   1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan, or line with parchment paper.  In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly, like wet sand. The dough does not need to come together. Pour crumbly dough into prepared pan and press into an even layer.  Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

For the topping:  3 cups shredded coconut

12-oz good-quality chewy caramels   1/4 teaspoon salt

3 tablespoon milk   1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300F. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.  Place caramels, salt, and milk in a small saucepan. Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the caramels have melted and everything has come together as one mixture. Fold in the toasted coconut.  Spread the caramel mixture evenly over the cooled crust. Allow to cool completely before cutting. Cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping). Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a double boiler, a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, or a microwave. Once melted, allow to cool slightly and then transfer to a pastry bag with a small round tip (or ziploc bag – cut a corner off after the chocolate is in) and drizzle over tops of bars. Store in an airtight container once chocolate is set.

Samoa Cupcakes

12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) butter, room temperature  1-3/4 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt   1-1/2 teaspoon baking soda

2 teaspoons vanilla extract   1/2 teaspoon coconut extract

2 cups flour   3/4 cup natural cocoa powder

4 large eggs, room temperature   1-1/2 cups milk or water


Preheat the oven to 350 F.   In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter, sugar, salt, baking soda, vanilla, and coconut extract until fluffy and light, at least 3-4 minutes. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and cocoa powder. If lumps remain, sift the mixture.   Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time, beating well after each addition. Slowly blend one third of the flour mixture into the creamed mixture, then half the milk, another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and the remaining flour. Be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl occasionally throughout this process.  Line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners. Scoop the batter into each liner, filling about 1/2 to 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven. Tilt each cupcake in the muffin pan so it sits at an angle. Cool like that for 10 minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Caramel Frosting  (from KAF Baker’s Companion)

1 cup (2 sticks) butter   1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups packed brown sugar    1/2 cup milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract   4 cups (1 lb) powdered sugar

Directions:  Melt the butter in a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Stir in the salt and brown sugar and heat the mixture to boiling, stirring constantly. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, until the sugar is totally dissolved. Stir in the milk and return to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and cool to lukewarm (30-40 minutes) stirring occasionally. Stir in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the powdered sugar. Adjust consistency with a little more milk, if necessary.

When the cupcakes are completely cool, frost them and drizzle with chocolate syrup. Sprinkle with coconut (toasted or not).

Samoa Scones

3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, chilled and cut into pieces
3/4 – 1 cup milk
6-oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup prepared caramel sauce (store bought or use recipe below)
3/4 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add in chilled butter and cut it into the flour mixture until no pieces larger than a pea remain visible (this can be done in a food processor).
Add in 3/4 cup milk and stir to combine. Gradually add in remaining 1/4 cup milk until dough comes together into a ball.
Divide dough in half. Working with one piece at a time, turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten into a disc about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into quarters and place on baking sheet. Repeat with second piece of dough.
Bake for 16-20 minutes, until scones are a light golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Melt the chocolate in a small bowl. Use a small knife or spatula to spread a thin layer onto the bottom of each scone. Place coated scones on a cool baking sheet lined with a piece of wax or parchment paper to set up.

Combine caramel and shredded coconut in a small bowl. Spread about 3 tbsp of the caramel and coconut mixture onto each scone and drizzle with remaining melted chocolate. Allow chocolate drizzle to set for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Makes 8 scones.

Homemade Caramel Sauce
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup water
1/8 tsp salt
7 tbsp heavy cream
1/2 tsp vanilla

In a medium saucepan, combine sugar, corn syrup, water and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until syrup turns dark gold. Working carefully, stir in cream and vanilla. Caramel will start to steam and harden when you add the cream – continue to cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until caramel is smooth. Transfer caramel to a refrigerator-safe container and cool. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Samoa Soft Pretzel

Frozen Soft Pretzels

Caramel Apple Sheets


Chocolate for melting

On a well greased foil-lined pan, top each frozen soft pretzel with one sheet of Caramel Apple Wraps  and then sprinkle with a generous amount of sweetened, shredded coconut. Bake these in a 400 degree oven for 5 minutes. Once out of the oven drizzle with melted chocolate.

ps. I have not made any of these.  So please tell me how they are if you do.


commercials and food

Best parts of the Super Bowl: commercials and the food.

Sometimes I’m actually into the game- but since the Steelers beat the Seahawks like 5 years ago, I’m not really excited to watch them play but the food is always fun.

If you’ve never looked at foodgawker you are definitely missing out.  But I am linking you up to a contributor of foodgawker that did all the work for me…all I am doing is picking my favorites from her list- with no regard to health or nutrition, beware.

So, for any of the following recipes- go to RecipeGirl.

Layered Baked Buffalo Chicken Nachos

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken Wings

Baked Potato Dip

BLT Wraps

Jalapeno Cheddar Pigs in a Blanket

Frozen Caramel Toffee Ice Cream Sandwich Dessert

Better than Crack Brownies

cinnnamon streusel pancakes


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cinnamon Streusel:

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
5 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks

1. First, make the cinnamon streusel. In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter. Mix together with your hands or a fork, until you have a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.  In a small bowl, whisk together buttermilk, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to the flour mixture and stir just until combined. Do not over mix, batter will be slightly lumpy.

3. Heat a griddle or pan to medium low. Coat with cooking spray. Drop 1 cup of batter onto heated skillet.  Add 2 tablespoons of the cinnamon streusel. Cook on the first side until bubbles begin to form, about 2-3 minutes. Carefully flip pancake over and cover very generously with cinnamon streusel.  Cook for another 2-3 minutes or until golden brown. Continue this process to make the rest of the pancakes.

4. Serve warm with maple syrup and butter.

Makes 6 very large pancakes

snickers bar trifle

confession: i haven’t made this yet but i want to


  • 1 whole Pan Prepared Brownies (8 Inch By 8 Inch Or Larger)
  • 2 packages Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix (Approx 3.5 Oz Each Pkg)
  • 4 cups Cold Milk (for Pudding Mix)
  • 1 pint Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 3 whole Snickers Bars (2 Oz Each)
  • 1 jar Caramel Sauce (8 Oz Or Larger)

Cut your prepared brownies into about 1 inch chunks (I used about 3/4 of an 8 x 8 inch pan) and set aside.

Prepare pudding as directed (combining the powdered mix with the amount of milk specified on the package), and set aside.

Beat heavy cream, sugar and vanilla until soft peaks form, then set aside.

Chop Snickers bars into small pieces, and set aside.

Assemble dessert: Crumble brownies into bottom of trifle bowl to cover surface.

Drizzle a few spoonfuls of caramel sauce over the brownie pieces.

Spread half of the prepared pudding over brownies and caramel.

Spread half of the whipped cream over top of pudding layer.

Sprinkle with half of the chopped Snickers.

Repeat layering, finishing off with the remaining Snickers chunks.

Cover and chill for a few hours before serving.

cookie exchange

five days til christmas!!!Peanut Butter Cup Cookies:  

2 1/2 cups (325 grams) all purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup (226 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

3/4 cup (160 grams) light brown sugar

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

48 miniature peanut butter cups, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven.  Butter, or spray with a non stick vegetable spray, 48 miniature muffins tins.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy (about 2 – 3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture and beat just until incorporated. Fill each miniature muffin cup with about one tablespoon of batter.

Bake the cookies for about 8 minutes, or until the cookies are lightly browned around the edges but still soft in the center. (Note: While the cookies are baking remove the foil wraps and paper liners from each peanut butter cup.) Remove the cookies from the oven, and gently press one miniature peanut butter cup into the center of each cookie. The peanut butter cup should be even with the top of the batter. Return the cookies to the oven and bake an additional 3 minutes or until cookies are golden brown. Remove from oven and cool completely (about two hours) on a wire rack before removing the cookies from the pan. These can be stored for several days at room temperature or in the refrigerator, or they can be frozen.

Makes about 48 cookies.

Cranberry White Chocolate Shortbreads:

1/2 cup (1 stick) (113 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated white sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour

1/4 cup (45 grams) fine yellow cornmeal

1 tablespoon (8 grams) rice flour or cornstarch (corn flour)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup (50 grams) dried cranberries (or cherries)

1/4 cup (45 grams) white chocolate chips or chunks

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C) and place the oven rack in the center of the oven.  Have ready a 8 inch (20 cm) tart pan with a removable bottom.

In the bowl of your electric mixer (or with a hand mixer), beat the butter and sugar until smooth (about 2 minutes).  Beat in the vanilla extract.  In a separate bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, cornmeal, rice flour, and salt.  Add this mixture to the butter and sugar mixture and beat just until incorporated.  Fold in the dried cranberries and white chocolate chips.

Press the shortbread dough evenly into the tart pan.  Prick the surface of the shortbread with a fork to prevent the shortbread from puffing up.  Then, using a sharp knife, score (make shallow lines) the top of the shortbread into 12 even pieces.  Sprinkle a little white granulated sugar on the top of the shortbread.

Place in the preheated oven and bake until the shortbread has nicely browned (biscuit color), about 50 to 60 minutes.  Transfer shortbread to a wire rack to cool for 5 to 10 minutes before removing from tart pan. Place the shortbread round on a cutting board and cut into 12 wedges (along the lines scored).  Cool completely on a wire rack.

Makes 12 shortbread wedges.

Coconut-Butterscotch-Fudge Cookies

1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix

½ cup butter melted

1 egg

1 to 1 ½ cups flaked coconut

½ cup butterscotch topping (might use caramel)

¾ cup hot fudge topping

Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, melted butter and egg until soft dough forms. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll balls in coconut. On ungreased cookie sheets, place balls 2 inches apart.

Bake 9 to 11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown and coconut starts to toast. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheets to waxed paper.

Drizzle each warm cookie with butterscotch topping. In small microwavable bowl, microwave hot fudge topping uncovered on High 15 to 30 seconds or until spreadable. Carefully spread on top of each cookie. Serve warm or cool. Store loosely covered.